Vegetables Highest in Phosphates / Phosphorus

Vegetables are not the worst thing we eat which contain phosphates / phosphorus. I’m writing this page for those who want more information about vegetables.

I capitalize the WE in my writing to mean those of us who have kidney disease.  Not everyone needs to worry about phosphates in their food, but when the kidneys are not working as they should, too much phosphorus / phosphate can be bad.  High phosphorus levels for US can affect calcium, which in turn affects our bones by making them brittle.  Please read more at the Kidney.org site, where they explain it better than I do.

First, a short story: The other night, when I was trying to sleep, my left arm was itching so bad it was keeping me awake. There was no bug bite or rash or any reason I could see that it would be itching so badly. For people with kidney disorders or on dialysis, this type of itching is believed to be related to high phosphorus levels!  (Please read this article on the Kidney Buzz site, and scroll to the 2nd paragraph.)

The itching caused me to research foods high in phosphorus.  I realized that I had been eating too many high phosphate containing food, such as meat, goat’s milk, cheese, nuts, beans and yogurt.  All the foods that contain the MOST amounts of phosphates!

My new diet will consist of many more vegetables, and I was curious about the phosphorus levels in vegetables.

While vegetables are not the worst culprits when it comes to getting phosphates in our diets, if you plan to eat mostly vegetarian, levels in veggies may matter more to you.

There is more good news when we eat phosphorus in vegetables.  Unlike meat, milk and bread, phosphorus is not absorbed fully when we eat vegetables.  So whatever the amount in the food, it will be less within our body.

Vegetables that seem to be the highest in phosphorus are corn, potatoes, and peas.

corn on the cob

1 cup of Yellow Corn = 349 mg Phosphorus

Corn has varying amounts of phosphorus depending on the type, but Yellow Corn contains 349 mg of phosphorus in one cup.  It is also a sweet vegetable with 606 calories per cup!   And corn’s potassium levels are high too at 476 mg in a cup.  Corn is probably a vegetable to avoid because of all these high numbers.

roasted potatoes

One large Potato contains 209 mg of phosphorus.  That is with the skin on. This is probably a good vegetable for US to avoid, but mainly because of the potassium level (1600 mg!). Sweet potatoes (1 cup baked in skin) have less phosphorus at 108 mg, and potassium at 950 mg, but the numbers are still higher than most other vegetables.

(There is a way to cook potatoes to remove some of the high levels. I plan to write a page on this soon, because I love potatoes in all forms.)

peas

Peas have 88 mg of phosphorus per cup and 384 mg potassium!  Again, that potassium number is huge.

Compare this to other vegetables like Kale (36 mg phosphorus) and fresh green beans (around 39mg phosphorus).

It is difficult to find information about the amount of phosphates in vegetables.  If you Google a particular vegetable you may find phosphate info.  I used the Self Nutrition Data site to get these numbers.  Simply type the name of the food to check at the top, and scroll down the page for info.

Labels on all foods may be difficult to figure out, but if you see the letters PHOS in any words, it means phosphates have been added or exist in the food.

The vegetables we may need to worry more about avoiding are the vegetables with high potassium levels.  I believe in variety when it comes to eating healthy, so I won’t be totally avoiding the vegetables listed here.  But I also won’t be eating them regularly either. We have many choices when it comes to eating, and being informed is necessary when we are dealing with kidney disease.

For a more complete list of Low Phosphorus Foods for a Kidney Diet read the page at Davita.com

(Photo credits: www.Pixabay.com)

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